A new study by Nickelodeon finds the power of kids'
influence over purchasing decisions has increased significantly over the years
and that unlike previous generations, decision-making within families is almost
In a summary of the report, Christian Kurz, VP of research,
insight and reporting at Viacom International Media Networks, writes, "Whether
it's to teach their kid that his/her opinion matters - or because they feel
that their child has a stronger opinion or is more knowledgeable about brands
than they are - parents are asking their kids for their opinions and taking
The Nickelodeon study, titled "International GPS: Kids'
Influence," is based on a quantitative online questioning of 6,900 kids
9-14 and 8,700 parents of kids 6-14 years old across 11 countries.
One of the key overall findings is that parents and kids
have a very different type of relationship than past generations. Two-thirds of
the parents agree that they are closer to their children than their parents
were to them, meaning there is less of a generation gap. Sixty-one percent of
parents also agree they were more fearful of disobeying their parents than
their children are of disobeying them. And 83% of parents consider their child
to be one of their best friends, with the percentage higher internationally
than in the U.S.
The study identifies five approaches to decision-making
within families, with a majority of them involving kids' input.
The most common approach is described as a "Board of
Directors." In that scenario, 56% of parents make the final decisions, but
only after seeking their children's input.
Another approach is the "Family Meeting." In 44%
of families, parents and kids discuss and come to a decision together.
A third approach is the "Parent Screen." In just
over 20% of the households, parents provide options and let the child decide.
A fourth approach, which harkens back to previous
generations, is "Because I Said So." The study found that only
13% of parents still use this approach in making decisions on their own.
The fifth approach is described as "Kids Cut
Loose." In 9% of families, the children decide on their own.
There is a difference in how frequently parents seek input
from their children when making purchases. In the U.S., 71% of parents solicit
and consider their kids' opinions when making purchases. That percentage jumps
to 94% internationally.
Parents in both the U.S. and internationally seek their kids'
opinions when buying products for them. In the U.S., 95% of parents do, and
internationally 99% of parents seek their children's opinions. When making
family purchases, 69% of U.S. parents confer with their kids, while
internationally, 87% do. As far as making purchases for themselves, 28% of U.S.
parents talk about it with their children before making the purchase, while 55%
of international parents do.
The categories that kids are most collaborative in as far as
purchases go are clothes and shoes (85%) and fast food (also 85%). The
percentage drops to 56% when it comes to making vacation decisions and to 49% in
a mobile phone purchase.
Interestingly for media buyers, 94% of kids and parents
share the same taste in TV shows and 98% watch TV together. A surprising
79% of parents and children share the same music taste, while 67% share
the same taste in clothing and shoes.
Seventy-seven percent of kids accompany parents to clothing
stores and 98% ask for things, the study shows, and a near mirror 78% accompany
their parents to drug stores, with 93% asking for things. What may be a bit
more surprising is that a fairly high 67% of parents say they shop online with
The study shows that kids learn about brands from friends,
online and from TV commercials. Sixty-seven percent of kids learn about brands
from their friends and 63% learn about brands online. Fifty-seven percent of
kids learn about brands from TV commercials.
While more kids may learn about brands from friends and
online, the study shows that TV motivates the most requests from kids for
products. Sixty-two percent of requests for brands by kids come from
seeing a TV commercial, 50% come for brands they've seen online and 46% come
from brands they've seen in magazines.
Among the conclusions of the study and recommendations to
- Understanding family dynamics when it comes to
decision-making is key to unlocking families' budgets.
Given the power of kids' influence over purchasing decisions, marketers would
be remiss to exclude kids from advertising or branding.
When creating advertising, marketers should keep in mind the types of products
and stores over which kids have the most influence.
For example, 98% of all kids ask for products at both
grocery and clothing stores, and according to the study, are
"frequently" granted their requests.